Newsom explores the genre of the prose introduction of Job and settles on a “didactic tale,” drawing off of elements of fairytale as well as prophetic/parabolic tales.
She interacts with Susan Suleiman’s work Authoritarian Fiction, who notes that didactic literature “infantilizes the reader.” Newsom explains: “The subject position that didactic narratives offer the reader of whatever age is that of a child.”
The genre of fairy tale, parable, or didactic tale as Newsom calls it revels in security and reassurance, a simple and unified vision of the world and morality, and all from the an authoritative voice.
While Jesus is clearly playing with some of these expectations in His parables, it is nevertheless striking to note how in this sense the genre of Jesus’ stories assumes and even creates a child audience. If parables have at least on the surface a “paternal” voice, then Jesus is the Word of the Father for the children of Israel. Or in other words, the parables are children’s stories only appreciated and loved by those who have “become children” for the Kingdom. Or yet another angle: These stories of Jesus are one of the effective ways that Jesus calls into being and creates a childish people. Listening to the stories of Jesus in faith is the way to become children who may enter the Kingdom. Parables are stories that create children.